Despite my assertion that Relic Knights is not a combat-oriented game and you shouldn’t go out to try and kill as many opposing units as possible, that’s not to say that you shouldn’t ever try to kill any of them. Rather, you should be very selective in which ones you try to kill.
At the start of the game, figure out which enemy units you can reasonably kill. It may be that your opponent has built a cadre with no viable targets. Two of the UK cadre events have been won by a Candy Rush, Cordelia Clean, and Navarre Hauer cadre, none of which are ever likely to be killed before the game ends (which is part of the reason it’s been so successful). However, there are units which can be killed, and some which can be very easily killed. Even if you identify a unit as one which you can reasonably kill, that doesn’t necessarily mean you should. If you can win without killing it, then you’re just wasting activations on doing it.
There are three good reasons why you should kill an enemy unit, and this post will focus on those. How you do it is dealt with in part two.
- The unit is too much of a threat
Some enemy units can pose a threat to you, and killing them can be the easiest way to deal with them. A good example are the Hounds of Nozuki. They’re very fast and can complete victory conditions quickly. They’re also a big threat in melee, which is a particular problem if you’re using a Darkfield, and they give the Noh player access to Link. They’re also just about the least durable unit in the game. As a squad with no damage prevention and 3 Health each, then they all die if they’re pushed into a building. You need to deal with this unit quickly, and the easiest way to do it is to kill them.
2. You need the VP(s) to win the game
If you’re playing an Endless Hunger tournament game, which only has a victory threshold of 6VPs, and you think you can complete your primary condition relative quickly, then that means you only need one more VP to win. In which case, it could be that killing an enemy unit is quicker and easier than achieving you secondary or faction condition. Equally, your primary may be very difficult, but you can do your secondary and faction, so killing an enemy unit will take you to the threshold. If you’re playing to a time limit, it’s often better to leave the killing till last. You score more VPs for the victory conditions so should score them first in case time expires.
3. You’ve flipped a victory condition which requires it
Leaving aside Tear it Down, which targets objectives, there are four victory conditions which require you to kill enemy units. Two of them are faction conditions, so if you’re playing either Shattered Sword or Noh then you know in advance you’ll have at least one, and the other two are Assassination and Carnage. If you’ve got any of these conditions, then you may need to kill enemy units.
You’ll still need to assess whether there are enemy units you can reasonably kill to score these conditions. The above mentioned Candy Rush cadre, for example, effectively cuts the opponent off from ever scoring them. If you’ve flipped Carnage, then you need to kill three enemy units. If there aren’t three you can reasonably kill then don’t bother trying. Assassination is easier as it only needs one, but as your opponent chooses who the target is then you could still find yourself shut out from completing it. That said, as it’ll score you 4VPs instead of the usual 1VP, it’s worth investing activations into it over and above what would you’d normally do.
If there is an enemy unit, or more, that you can reasonably kill, but it doesn’t fall into at least one of those categories, then be aware that killing it could be wasting esper and activations, so consider carefully whether you should do it. If it does fall into at least one of those categories, then you probably should be trying to kill it.